Master of Arts in Dance

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The 36-credit Master of Arts in Dance is a graduate program that offers students an opportunity to focus on intensive scholarly study in dance. Students may also develop an interdisciplinary focus in dance/movement studies, which might include coursework and research in areas such as theatre, music studies, recreation and leisure studies, health and wellness, or women/gender studies.

While at Brockport, graduate students may perform in faculty and guest artist work, choreograph their own work, or assist in directing departmental touring performances. They may also travel to regional/national conferences and festivals; to countries with complimentary foreign study programs such as Ghana, England, Brazil or Norway; or to New York and other locations for approved and credited apprenticeships, internships or dance study.

Upon completion of their degrees, Brockport MA students go on to become college and university faculty; PreK-12 teachers; performers and choreographers; dance administrators; private studio directors; independent movement practitioners; and teaching artists.  Others pursue doctoral degrees in dance or related fields.

The Department of Dance offers three different graduate programs in which students may earn the MA in Dance, an MA in Dance with New York State PreK-12 dance teacher certification, or an MFA in dance. Students in the department’s highly selective graduate programs excel in the studio and on stage, and as critical thinkers, writers and teachers.

The department has some of the best dance facilities in the country, including its own fully equipped 300-seat proscenium dance theater, a 270-seat large-space studio theater, five studios, a body-conditioning lab, and computerized music and design studios. Faculty and professional staff are nationally and internationally recognized in their areas of expertise and are leaders in professional organizations such as CORD, NASD and NDEO. SUNY Brockport is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Admission to the Program

Prospective students apply to the program through the Center for Graduate Studies. The following requirements are necessary for consideration:

  1. An undergraduate degree with a major in dance, with a "B" or better average in dance courses, OR an undergraduate degree in another major and evidence of serious study and/or significant professional experience in dance. Once accepted to graduate program by audition, basic course work may be strongly recommended for students without undergraduate degrees in dance.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, at least two from persons acquainted with the candidate's dance background;
  3. Completion of the application form, including submission of official transcripts of undergraduate study, graduate study and application for audition;
  4. Participation in an audition-interview process, which is scheduled once each year in March or April. This audition consists of:
    1. being observed in modern technique class (intermediate-level skill is required);
    2. solving an improvisation problem;
    3. presenting a three-minute solo of original choreography;
    4. participating in a formal interview, including candidate's articulation of areas of interest in dance; and
    5. completing a writing assessment assignment. Original research, essays or articles may also be presented, but are not required.

NOTE: A maximum of 12 transfer credits may be earned at other colleges and universities with the approval of the department. Six transfer credits may be earned, upon approval, at units outside the State University of New York system. Twelve credits may be transferred, with approval, from within the SUNY system, or from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. Dance professionals may be eligible for up to 12 credits by examination and/or portfolio. 

Program Requirements

Students must meet the requirements established by the College for graduate study.

Required minimum grades:  Grades of “C” or better are required for all courses.  Any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 is subject to review for retention in the program.

Students cannot receive graduate credit for a course already completed at the undergraduate level (“swing courses”). 

The 36 credits in the MA program are distributed as follows:

  • 21 elective credits by advisement (see below)

The elective credits are from graduate dance courses in a selected area of emphasis within dance (including technique when appropriate) or within allied disciplines that support that emphasis (theatre, health and wellness, women and gender studies, etc.).

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply artistry and individual expressivity across a range of movement aesthetics.
  2. Embody physical mastery of a variety of contemporary dance idioms.
  3. Generate and design choreography that demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of compositional tools and aesthetic framework.
  4. Articulate a critical understanding of aesthetics regarding dance styles through dance making, and/or oral and written forms.
  5. Summarize and synthesize concepts regarding history, aesthetics, and culture of dance.
  6. Identify and investigate an individual research agenda in creative and/or written scholarship.
  7. Situate individual interests in the context of the larger dance field.
  8. Exhibit appropriate professional conduct throughout choreographic process, performance, collaboration, and production.